: Our association looked into installing seismic gas shut-off valves but the board is concerned that they may have liability in the event there is an earthquake and the valves fail. They don't want to open themselves to liability unnecessarily. Is this a valid concern?
: A seismic valve automatically shuts off natural gas to a building when an earthquake of a sufficient magnitude occurs. Turning off the gas greatly reduces the risk of explosions and fires after a major earthquake. They are so effective that (i) some insurance companies will reduce the cost of insurance if they are installed and (ii) some cities require shut-off valves on all new construction and any remodeling valued at $10,000 or more.
Not installing seismic valves because they might fail is a poor argument against safety equipment. The potential damage from explosions and fire is much greater than the potential liability from a failure. With all the recent earthquake activity around the world, the more prudent course of action is to install the valves.
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